Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things: Kettlebell Workouts
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School is almost back — and for many parents — all that freedom they had in the summer will soon cease to exist. And while spare time may quickly become a luxury — it doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a fast– and effective workout with KETTLEBELLS!
Busy people want the biggest bang for the buck. Kettlebells can be the solution to trying to squeeze cardio, strength and flexibility training in an already overbooked schedule. Because of the intensive nature, the workout duration must be kept short. Best of all, they are so small and portable, training can take place in your bedroom.
Kettlebells make for a killer workout because the weight isn’t distributed evenly throughout — unlike a dumbell or weight plate. So how does this disproportionate weight make for a better workout? Well, anyone who has picked up a kettlebell has felt the difference. The off centered weight of a KB recruits more stabilizer muscles and works the targeted muscles through a wider range of motion. It’s because of the off-center design of the KB. Isolation exercises such as those done with dumbbells and barbells do not hit those stabilizing muscles to the same degree.
Perform each exercise 15 times, and repeat for a total of 3 rounds. Add weight in between rounds if need be. On Clean, Jerk, and Snatch divide the work evenly between the left and right side.
1- Russian Swing
The russian swing starts just below the groin and is swung to chest or at most, eye level. The movement is short, brisk and compact.
The russian style looks similar to a stiff-legged deadlift. Most of the movement is in the hips and the knees bend slightly, almost as an afterthought.
The russian kettlebell swing is considered best for beginners until they master the basics and understand the correct technique. This swing is excellent for conditioning the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. It also improves lower back stamina and stability. The short stroke associated with this style conserves more energy and allows for greater repetitions. The disadvantage is that this style provides less cardio conditioning than the full overhead swing.
2- American Swing
The American swing begins level to the knees and moves upward to full arm extension over the head. Its motion is longer and smoother than its Russian counterpart. The American swing is more like a squat as the knees bend to a much greater degree. It also involves more muscle groups and is a more complete workout. The greater the height of the bell also means the hips and back are being trained harder. In addition, the overhead swing increases shoulder girdle flexibility, balance, and coordination.
3 – Clean
The clean is a modified swing where near the top of the swing the elbow bends and brings the fist to the shoulder while rotating the kettlebell over to the back of the hand bringing the bell to rest in the final position on the outside of the arm. This is performed in one flowing or “clean” motion. Start the same way you start a swing. All the same rules apply. As you start to swing the kettlebell up, bend or “break” the swing at the elbow when the arm is little higher then waist level.
4 – Jerk
Hold a kettlebell by the handle. Clean the kettlebell to your shoulder by extending through the legs and hips as you pull the kettlebell towards your shoulder. Rotate your wrist as you do so, so that the palm faces forward. This will be your starting position. Dip your body by bending the knees, keeping your torso upright. Immediately reverse direction, driving through the heels, in essence jumping to create momentum. As you do so, press the kettlebell overhead to lockout by extending the arms, using your body’s momentum to move the weight. Receive the weight overhead by returning to a squat position underneath the weight. Keeping the weight overhead, return to a standing position. Lower the weight to perform the next repetition.
5 – Snatch
The snatch is a modified swing where as the kettlebell swings up above the head, the bell flips over the hand and ends up in the same overhead position as the press. Start by performing the snatch as you would the swing, there is no difference at all. As the kettlebell raises up over the head, do a slight corkscrew with the hand so the bell flips directly over the hand. Do this in one complete fluid motion. The fingers of the hand doing the snatch can be left open at the top of the movement, or you can close them around the handle. Image as if you are putting your hand in a glove over your head. The lift of the bell coming up is with the hips once again and not the arms. The kettlebell comes to rest overhead in the same position as the press, elbow locked out, shoulder packed.